* RBI leaves rates unchanged at policy meeting as expected
* S.Korea's won at strongest level since Feb-end
By Nikhil Nainan
BENGALURU, April 7 (Reuters) - The South Korean won and Thai baht led Asia's emerging currencies higher on Wednesday as U.S. bond yields continued to retreat, easing pressure on the region's assets with stock markets edging ahead on global economic recovery hopes.
The won KRW=KFTC advanced 0.3% to its strongest level since late February as 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR extended their declines and put the dollar on the backfoot. US/
The International Monetary Fund also raised its global growth outlook to 6% this year, from 5.5%, pointing largely to the U.S. recovery and unprecedented public spending. reflation hopes helped lift Philippine shares .PSI and others in the region, though only just, ahead of minutes from the Federal Reserve's March meeting, due later on Wednesday, as well as regional developments like India's policy meeting.
"We expect the broader thematic play of reflation, higher commodity prices, vaccine trade and sharper global economic rebound to play up again," Maybank analysts said.
Cautioning that they still do not expect the dollar to be in free fall as U.S. yields remain elevated. "Fed officials need to show some signs of anxiety before UST yield and dollar can ease more meaningfully."
The Reserve Bank of India left rates unchanged, as widely expected, but with daily COVID-19 cases surging and states imposing restrictions, its commentary will be closely watched. RBI is expected to be on hold today. But this is a forced, rather than desired hold," Mizuho Bank said in a client note.
The sharp rise in COVID-19 infections "threatens to dim the prospects of unfettered rebound in 2021" and "exacerbate the unevenness of the recovery," it added.
Stocks in Mumbai .NSEI rose 0.4% ahead of the decision.
Investors have also been recalculating their expectations for when the Fed will tighten policy, a shift from a month and half of rising U.S. bond yields and a surging dollar spurred by financial markets thinking the central bank will have to abandon its pledge due to a fast-recovering economy.
The Fed has pledged not to raise interest rates until 2024, while any indications of change could sap appetite for Asia's higher-yielding currency and bond markets.
South Korea, seen as a beneficiary from a global recovery given its reliance on trade, reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases in three months, keeping a check on stock market .KS11 gains. says the broader market will play a more decisive role for the won in April, where typically South Korean companies pay dividends which tends to add upward pressure on the dollar/won. The bank expects foreign investors to receive $10.4 billion from the nation's top 16 companies.
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields fell 12.1 basis points to 6.548%
** Spike in long-term Thai govt bonds had limited impact on economy stock indexes and currencies at 0415 GMT COUNTRY
DAILY % YTD %
DAILY % YTD % Japan
-5.92 .N225 0.34
-0.20 .SSEC -0.53
-0.50 .NSEI 0.44
-3.17 .JKSE 0.03
-2.57 .KLSE 0.31
-2.66 Philippines PHP=
-2.68 .KS11 0.24
+0.17 .TWII 0.20
-4.37 .SETI -0.73
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